AUSTIN — Let's face it. Finding a parking spot is an issue most of us deal with, especially in Downtown Austin.

To help mend some of our city's parking issues, the City of Austin and the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) are partnering to make more city-owned, downtown parking available by expanding the City's Affordable Parking Program (APP).

The City and the DAA announced Monday they want to make more parking available to service-industry professionals and other evening workers as part of the next phase of the DAA's "Downtown Parking Strategy."

The APP was originally launched in May 2016 by providing affordable evening parking at the Waller Creek Center Garage.


Community asked to weigh in on parking issues in Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin Alliance funding parking plan

Starting Monday, the program will expand to include more affordable evening parking at the City Hall garage and the One Texas Center garage. This expansion will more than double the capacity of the APP by increasing it from around 200 spaces to about 500 spaces, according to the City of Austin.

The State of Texas is also providing parking at its north garage.

“This program is an important step in relieving parking-related traffic congestion,” said Jason Redfern, parking operations manager with the Austin Transportation Department. “Austin Transportation is always looking for options that can help people navigate the city more effectively and enjoy what downtown has to offer. We’re thrilled to partner with the Downtown Austin Alliance to expand this program.”

If you'd like to participate in the APP, you must apply. To use the City's parking garages, you pay $35 a month. If you use the State's, it's $65 a month. You would park in a garage from either 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.

If you'd like to apply or want more information, click here.

We spoke with servers and other restaurant workers who said the program is a great idea.

Marcus Stripland works at Taverna on Second Street and said he budgets anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to find parking. And he spends a hefty amount each week paying for a space, "probably about 60 bucks," he said.

The City said it also started this as an effort to decrease the amount of employees that use street parking.

"We really want to get people out of our on-street system," said Redfern. "It's a short-term parking solution. It's for people who are patronizing the businesses downtown."